I. transitive verb (defied; defying) Etymology: Middle English, to renounce faith in, challenge, from Anglo-French desfier, defier, from des- de- + fier to entrust, from Vulgar Latin *fidare, alteration of Latin fidere to trust — more at bide Date: 14th century 1. archaic to challenge to combat 2. to challenge to do something considered impossible ; dare 3. to confront with assured power of resistance ; disregard <
defy public opinion
4. to resist attempts at ; withstand <
the paintings defy classification
II. noun (plural defies) Date: 1580 challenge, defiance

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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  • defy — de*fy (d[ e]*f[imac] ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Defied} (d[ e]*f[imac]d ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Defying}.] [F. d[ e]fier, OF. deffier, desfier, LL. disfidare to disown faith or fidelity, to dissolve the bond of allegiance, as between the vassal and his… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • defy — c.1300, to renounce one s allegiance; mid 14c., to challenge, defy, from O.Fr. defier, desfier to challenge, defy, provoke; renounce (a belief), repudiate (a vow, etc.), from V.L. *disfidare renounce one s faith, from L. dis away (see DIS (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • defy — I verb affront, assume a fighting attitude, battle, beard, brave, breast, buck, challenge, conflict with, confront, dare, disobey, disregard, flout, front, mutiny, oppose, outface, provocare, rebel, resist, resist openly, stand up against,… …   Law dictionary

  • defy — [dē fī′, difī′; ] also, for n. [, dē′fī] vt. defied, defying [ME defien < OFr defier, to distrust, repudiate, defy < LL * disfidare < dis , from + * fidare, to trust < fidus, faithful: see FAITH] 1. to resist or oppose boldly or… …   English World dictionary

  • defy — de*fy (d[ e]*f[imac] ), n. A challenge. [Obs.] Dryden. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • defy — *face, brave, challenge, dare, beard Analogous words: mock, deride, *ridicule: flout (see SCOFF): withstand, *resist, oppose, fight: confront, encounter, *meet Antonyms: recoil from …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • defy — [v] challenge, frustrate baffle, beard, brave, confront, contemn, dare, defeat, deride, despise, disregard, elude, face, flout, fly in face of*, foil, front, gibe*, hang tough*, hurl defiance at, ignore, insult, make my day*, mock, oppose,… …   New thesaurus

  • defy — ► VERB (defies, defied) 1) openly resist or refuse to obey. 2) challenge to do or prove something. DERIVATIVES defier noun. ORIGIN Old French desfier, from Latin fidus faithful …   English terms dictionary

  • defy — de|fy [dıˈfaı] v past tense and past participle defied present participle defying third person singular defies [T] [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: defier, from Latin fidere to trust ] 1.) to refuse to obey a law or rule, or refuse to do… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • defy — [[t]dɪfa͟ɪ[/t]] defies, defying, defied 1) VERB If you defy someone or something that is trying to make you behave in a particular way, you refuse to obey them and behave in that way. [V n] This was the first (and last) time that I dared to defy… …   English dictionary

  • defy — 1. noun A challenge. 2. verb a) To renounce or dissolve all bonds of affiance, faith, or obligation with; to reject, refuse, or renounce. to defy an enemy; to defy the power of a magistrate; to defy the arguments of an opponent; to defy public… …   Wiktionary

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